The Future of Digital Marketing is Already Here

Today, the needs of all marketers are converging, creating a common set of goals. As marketers, we now strive to:

  • Build deep, enduring relationships with our customers at an individual, personalized level
  • Create engaging experiences tied together across channels and time at scale
  • Drive conversions and get insight into spend and effectiveness

Let’s think back to the movie Minority Report, which was filmed in 2002 but set in 2054. In a famous scene, Tom Cruise’s character walks into a Gap store. He scans his retinas, and the ad begins speaking to him: “Welcome back to the Gap Mr. Yakamoto, how are those assorted tank tops working for you?”

This movie predicted that, 50 years from now, personalized, 1:1 marketing would be the status quo. Director Steven Spielberg must have had a crystal ball – except that his timing was off. This type of personalized 1:1 marketing is much closer to reality than we’d think, thanks to the advent of tools and technologies like iBeacons (which can trigger messages sent to your phone based on your proximity to a certain location) and richly customized user experiences (easily implemented with real-time personalization tools).

For another great example of a “futuristic” marketing experience, we can look to British Airways’ excellent #Lookup campaign from late 2013. In the clip below, a child runs across a digital billboard and points upwards at a real airplane flying overhead. The billboard uses real time data gathering to locate the exact moment that a British Airways aircraft flies over, as well as when and how to display the advertisement. Even more remarkable, the system checks weather feeds to determine the height of nearby clouds, finding out which flight is visible and which information to display.